At least the taxpayers don’t like him. He’s been here since 2014, and I haven’t met anyone who tells me what a nice guy he is, or how much fun he is to hang out with. People used to say that Joyce was fun after she’d had a couple of Mojitos. I haven’t heard anyone say something similar about Tommy.
I have yet to talk to anyone that thinks that Mr. Gonzalez is doing a good job. The streets are crumbling, the libraries are only open for reduced hours, and some of the Rec Centers aren’t open at all, ever. And our taxes go up every year.
Funny, though, that (almost) all the City Representatives on the dais can’t stop telling us what a good job he’s doing. Even the reps that oppose his contract extension tell us that the City Manager is doing a good job.
But what are they going to say? They can’t complain about high taxes when they’re the ones that drove us so deep into debt that our property taxes are going up from now through the foreseeable future. They can’t say that the City has misguided priorities when they’re the ones that set the priorities in the first place.
They can’t suddenly say that the emperor is naked. They’ve got to keep telling us that Tommy G is sporting some fine threads.
They have to keep telling the lie.
Their version of reality is the fun house mirror version. If you close one eye, and squint, things in El Paso look all hunky dory.
The truth is that we pay more in taxes and get less in city services than any other city in the United States, with the possible exception of Detroit. But we’re catching up with Detroit.
Detroit suffered when the auto plants moved to Kentucky, and Alabama, and Ohio. Our decline is self-inflicted. We’ve chased all our best and brightest out of town with high taxes, arrogant government, and a stultifying social structure that rewards an inner circle of business elites and leaves the working class to eat the crumbs.
(According to the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, in 2020 the effective property tax rate in Detroit was 2.83 cents per hundred dollars of valuation. Detroit had the highest property tax rates in the country that year. This year in El Paso the nominal tax rate is 3.12 cents per hundred dollars of valuation. I know, apples and oranges. But there’s no denying that taxes here are high, and getting higher every year.)
I’m surprised that our elected officials are so out of touch with their constituents. Do they read their emails? Do they read El Chuqueño? Do they think that we’re all a bunch of cranks? We can’t all be cranks.
By extending Mr. Gonzalez’ contract, they eliminate his incentive to negotiate when his contract comes up for renewal. And you know he has a ridiculously lucrative contract, which was approved by the same members of City Council who are now trying to give him an extension.
When our elected representatives term out, or are defeated in the next election, their job prospects are dim. I reckon that some have higher political aspirations. They want to be mayor, maybe, or move on to state office.
Good luck with that. They may get more money from their deep-pocketed campaign donors, but that won’t translate to a win.
El Paso remembers.